Review: The Salem Witch Trials

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The Trials Encounter Politics The citizens of Salem were not exclusively affected by the witch trials— the authorities were shaken as well. At first, judges involved in the trials placed blame on “the trickery of Satan,” releasing themselves from any feelings of guilt. They eventually recognized their mistakes, and on January 14, 1697 proclaimed a Day of Fasting, where twelve jurors admitted they had condemned people without proper evidence.
We do hereby signify to all in general (and to the surviving sufferers in especial) . . . that we were sadly deluded and mistaken, for which we are much disquieted and distressed in our minds; and do therefore humbly beg for forgiveness. . . from you all, whom we have justly offended, and do declare .
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This new community would follow God’s laws and seek salvation through conversion in their faiths. In order to achieve this goal, the community would need to be resilient in their undertakings. “The integrity of the community demanded religious conformity. Dissent was tolerated, but only within strict limits” (“The Puritans”). This idea of uniformity contributed to the unfolding of the Salem Witch Trials. The Puritan people, afraid of losing their favor with God, jumped at any chance they could to condemn other people of rebelling against God. Ridding the community of Satan and his works was extremely important to the Puritans, which explains the enormous fervor in which they attacked those that aroused suspicion in the community (“The Puritans”). During the trials, suspicion and paranoia greatly affected the religion of the people. They believed that the devil could possess anyone and force them to do his bidding. “If the Devil do but hold up his finger, give the least hint of his Mind, his Servants & Slaves will obey” (Parris). Blaming Satan as the culprit of witchcraft, the Puritans of Salem turned to self-examination to ensure that their souls were not tampered with. Constant fear of being accused turned many people to become extremely pious, portraying the image of religiousness to deter any accusations that might come their way ("Indictment v. George Jacobs,

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